The founder of a service that helps consumers respond to collection suits is calling out courts across the country for charging defendants filing fees when responding to lawsuits, saying the fees “block justice,” particularly in debt collection suits.
George Simons, the founder of SoloSuit, shared his views in an article that was published last week. In the article, he calls out states that charge defendants filing fees when responding to collection suits, saying that the practice goes against the mission of many states that are seeking to increase access to justice, especially for those who have traditionally been unable to afford it. While filing fees are charged when responding to any type of civil lawsuit, they are particularly problematic in debt collection cases because the individuals usually do not have the funds to pay the underlying debt, let alone the filing fee, Simons notes.
“Creating regulatory reform to increase access to justice while keeping filing fees is like raising the castle of justice’s gate to a visitor but not lowering the drawbridge for them to cross the moat,” Simons writes.
Some states, like Arizona, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Louisiana to name just a few, charge defendants hundreds of dollars to respond to a lawsuit. In Arizona, Simons notes, the $245 that some defendants have to pay is equivalent to 19% of the average Arizonian’s paycheck.
Simons also takes courts to task for not making information about how to respond to lawsuits easier for individuals to find, especially when they are representing themselves. Filing fees are not often published online, and when they are, they are often complicated and difficult to understand, such as a 16-page document put out by the state of California.
Simons founded SoloSuit to close “the justice gap” by helping them respond to collection lawsuits.